Latest News About Casino Legislation in the US
By TOI Staff July 25, 2023 Update on : August 16, 2023
Gambling and its legality within the United States presents as a rather complex scenario, yet this is nothing new. In the past, the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 limited sports betting. This, in effect, prevented states that didn’t already allow it from legalizing it in the future. However, this law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2018, who ruled upon giving states the autonomy and authority to decide whether to legalize sports betting or not. Online gambling is another area of complexity. However, the bottom line is, individuals are not prohibited from placing wagers on online gambling sites. On a federal level, there is no overarching law banning gambling across the entire country. However, certain federal laws do restrict specific aspects of gambling. The Federal Wire Act of 1961 prohibits gambling activities that cross state lines. This means that gambling within a single state might be permitted, but placing bets with a bookmaker located in another state would be considered illegal.
Federal Laws and Casino Legislation: The Latest News
The regulation of gambling largely falls within the jurisdiction of individual states. Each state has the autonomy to establish its own gambling laws and regulations, leading to considerable variation in gambling legality and the permitted forms of gambling across different states. Almost all states allow some form of gambling, with Utah and Hawaii being the exceptions where it is entirely prohibited. Nevada stands out as a well-known gambling haven where gambling is legal in various forms throughout the state.
The decision regarding gambling is not solely dictated by the state level, as local jurisdictions also hold influence in this matter. Even if gambling is deemed legal at the state level, these local authorities retain the option to prohibit it within their own boundaries. Because of this, it’s important for individuals to be aware of both their state and local laws to ensure they don’t accidentally partake in illegal gambling.
Let’s take a look at the latest news surrounding casino legislation:
While Texas is currently making huge strides towards legalization, the overall landscape of legal online casinos in the USA remains limited. As of July 2023, only six states have legalized online casino games, each offering varying numbers of online casino options. At present, the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia are among the select few that offer legalized online casinos.
Connecticut launched its online casinos in late 2021, featuring two options for players, both operated by tribal casinos. However, Delaware holds the honor of being the first state to legalize online gambling, although it wasn’t the first to actually open any online casinos. And Michigan, a newer player in the online casino market, has already made significant progress since its launch in 2021.
It is New Jersey, however, which is considered the leading hub for legal gambling in the USA, that boasts the most extensive array of online casinos and sportsbooks compared to any other state. Since legalizing online casino gaming in 2013, New Jersey has hosted over 20 online casinos. Pennsylvania joined the online casino scene in 2019 with two options and quickly expanded to rival New Jersey in terms of online gambling options.
West Virginia stands out as one of the few states to offer both online sports betting and online casinos. With four online casino options and more expected to join soon, the state’s gambling industry is regulated by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
Despite this progress in these six states, in California—the most populous state—gambling is still generally prohibited as of July 2023. But, there are certain exceptions that allow for specific forms of gambling. Permitted forms of gambling include card rooms, tribal casinos operated by Native American tribes in the state, state lotteries, bingo, and horse race betting. As a result, there are currently around 70 tribal casinos operating in California on reservation lands.
Gambling illegally in the state does have heavy consequences. For example, on the afternoon of Friday, 21st July 2023, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) conducted a raid on an illegal gambling operation. This resulted in more than 20 people being cited.
Ultimately, California has the capacity to emerge as a dominant force in the realm of online casino gaming. Despite notable progress in the legislation surrounding sports betting and online poker, the advancement in online casino gaming has been rather sluggish.
However, on May 24, 2024, Governor Gavin Newsom took a significant step by formally endorsing California Assembly Bill 341 (Source: https://www.basketballinsiders.com/online-casinos/ca/). Undoubtedly, this bill represents a significant and pivotal moment as it has the potential to lay the foundation for a gradual growth of cardrooms over the span of the next twenty years. With this strategic move, the state aims to pave the way for further developments in the realm of online casino gaming.